The Instigator
Ds201049
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
kbreezy
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

Atheism is a Religion

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
kbreezy
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/16/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,332 times Debate No: 14813
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (6)

 

Ds201049

Pro

Atheism is in fact a religion
Atheism-Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
Also defined as- Atheism is the position that affirms the non-existence of God. It proposes positive belief rather than mere suspension of disbelief.

Religion-a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

If you truly believe that there is no god, how is that any different from believing that there is a god? You can not 100 percent that he does not exist, therefore you can not be certain, or any more certain than a thiest. Both are positions on a fundamentally religious question that rest on faith. Therefore, atheism is just another form of religion.

Atheism will be defined in the western sense: not just the lack of belief in a god, but the assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists, and as will be shown, they do follow a religion.

Ninian Smart wrote the Seven Dimensions of Religion, which is widely accepted by anthropologists and researchers of religion as broadly covering the various aspects of religion, without focusing on things unique to specific religions. the 7 characteristics are narrative, experiential, social, ethical, doctrinal, ritual and material.
Narrative-Evolution is an explanation of where everything came from: the cosmos (came out of nothing at the big bang—nothing exploded and became everything); humans evolved from non-human creatures, hence humanity's place in the cosmos is being just another species of animal. There are some who attempt to combine belief in God with belief in evolution, not realizing the foundational nature of evolution's connection to Atheism. The testimony of those who after learning about evolution in "science" reject Christianity should alert church leaders to the incompatibility between evolution and the Gospel.
This is the only aspect I will address for now

A person's religion is the sum total of his beliefs about God and the supernatural. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are the three largest "monotheistic" religions, with belief one God, Creator Of The Universe.
Some religions are "polytheistic," with belief in many gods, each with different functions.

Atheism is the religion whose belief about God is that there is no God.

Some Atheists, for their own political reasons, assert that Atheism is not a religion but instead is the total absence of religion. This allows them to spread their Atheistic beliefs freely in societies which insist on "separation of church and state."

But this is like saying that black, (which physicists define as the total absence of color) is not a color. A few years ago, the car I drove was a big, old Chevrolet, whose color was black. In common practice throughout the world, "black" is understood to be a color, despite the technical definition of the physicists. Likewise, Atheism is a religion, despite any technical definitions to the contrary.

If black is a color, then Atheism is a religion.

I hope this remains as enjoyable as possible for both of us, good luck and God Bless!
vote pro!
http://www.conservapedia.com...
Dictionary.com
usccb.org
kbreezy

Con

Mr. Smith - You plagiarized the entirety of your arguments from the following website(s), as you did not cite them as sources: <http://patriot.net...;
<http://creation.com...;

Since you have just engaged in an act of theft, I'm inclined to simply discontinue this debate. But for discourses sake, I guess I will address the banter of these gentlemen.
It bores me so to encounter such infantile attempts to discredit atheism. I am unfamiliar with this website, Mr. Smith, and was under the impression we would be debating the topic of the existence of God. All considered, I'll go with it.

There are varying types of atheists, and they categorically defined in the following (broad) ways:

1. Strong Atheism- the assertion that a deity does not exist.

2. Weak Atheism- includes all of the other non theistic schools of thought.

In your opening paragraph, you said that since "… both [theism and atheism] are positions on a fundamentally religious question that rest on faith…." atheism is a religion.

This tells me that you view faith as prerequisite to an ideology's status as a religion. It also assumes that the strong atheist position, the assertion that there is not a God, rests fundamentally on faith. This is perniciously misleading and simply incorrect.

We need to distinguish between 2 core beliefs – rationally justified beliefs (atheist position) and beliefs posited on certainty (theist position). While it's true I can't be 100% certain that a deity does not exist, I am perfectly justified in claiming one does not exist, without relying on faith. Take, for instance, my belief that the world will not end tomorrow. I think that we can both agree to a mutually held belief that the sun will not go supernova and turn our solar system to rubble tomorrow, but the key point is that we cannot be sure, or certain, of this proposal. It is a position that instead relies on empirical evidence, or evidence stemming from observation of the world, that we conclude such an event will not end the world.

If one were so inclined, one would apply the same principle to the belief in a deity. While I can't prove an absolute negative, just as you can't prove there isn't an invisible unicorn that lives in Alpha Centauri and dictates our thoughts to us every waking second, I am inclined to believe the negative solely on the basis of evidence.

This gets into the evidence that I would forward to support the claim a God does not exist, and I would like to take this time to formally challenge my opponent to a debate on this topic, at a later date, now, since it is directly applicable to this debate.

You also say "atheism is a religion whose belief about God is there is no God." This would be true if the definition of religion were constrained merely to the belief in a God, but it isn't. Religion is also defined by a series of rituals, ceremonies, and dogma that a religion's followers universally adhere to. Atheism is no such mess.

"Religion-a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs." In this definition we find that the only thing consistent with atheism is that atheism is concerned with the ‘superhuman agencies'. Every other characteristic covered is not addressed by atheism. This definition is so broad that almost every idea shares at least one of the characteristics addressed. Football, like atheism, shares a single trait with this definition: ‘ritual observance'. Is football also a religion?

You then go on to steal a passage from a website regarding color, more specifically "black" as the absence of color. Whoever wrote this is correct, when black is found as a pigmentary agent of matter in the form of visible objects it is, indeed, a color. Physicists instead say that ‘black' is not a color when referring to light in a visible state. Black is not a color when one is speaking of a room that has no light in it. When the author says "black is understood to be a color, despite the technical definition" he is right in this theory. Your confusion results in your use of ambiguous language.

To conclude, just as darkness is a word we assign to define the absence of light, and cold is a word meant to assert the absence of heat, atheism is a claim to the absence of religion.

"If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby, and bald is a hair color." - Author escapes me.
Debate Round No. 1
Ds201049

Pro

Well constructed essay mr. Schoof, and my computer seemed to malfunction and I was unable to post the links, thank god for men like you who did it for me. Note to all that I am typing off an iPad so my structure may not be one hundred percent.

first off, when I stated my definitions, I was simply laying the foundation for this debate, not trying to prove a point. the definitions were found in Dictionaries so I am just getting that out there.

You failed to address a couple of my points such as the seven dimensions of religion and how atheism fulfills them, my points on politics, and also my point about evolution, I assume these points are conceded. Because of this, I feel as if I should discontinue the debate, but since I am a nice guy I will continue.

I am unable to copy paste your arguments, so I will let you know what I am addressing as i argue against your points. First off, I would like to make clear that I can just as well rationalize my belief in God then you can rationalize your belief that he does not exist. Give me something more rational for the beginning of the universe then god said let there be light and there was, and maybe I will begin to entertain .your argument, but until you can answer these questions, then you must have faith to be an atheist. Faith is a characteristic of religion.(actually didn't you tell me that you were vibrating to deism because the physics breaks down at this level?) Your example of the sun is non-sequtir, considering the con tray to such a thing is made obvious, whereas the contrary to something as abstract as faith is not. my believe in Christianity also stems from evidence and observation, as the renowned c.s. Lewis once said: "I believe in christianity as i believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else". you describing what You believe does not make atheism a religion seems to be what I go through everyday as a christian.

So if you are inclined to believe the negative solely on the basis of evidence that does not explain all, in fact evidence that does not have anything more convincing then the contrary, then aren't you simply having faith in something you don't know to be true? I find you to be in a whirl of contradictions. The example of the unicorn is degrading and mocking to my christian faith in which i feel strongly about, and I view god as something far greater then you could ever conceive, so stumping him down to some imaginary figure is unnecessary and unethical for this debate, I expect an apology.

I would be more than willing tom debate you again, and hereby i announce my acceptance to your challenge on the existence of God, because as a great scholar whose name escapes me at this moment once said! " no one talks as constantly about god as those who insist he does not exist". But any ways thank you for the challenge, I look forward to that.

As far as religion being rituals and such, I would ask you to recheck my definition and look for the words often and usually. Enough said on that

I personally do not believe foot ball is a religion, but many others such as the great Alejandro Ziedas may. Also, ritual observance, as I said earlier is not a must for religion. You need to pay closer attention to detail.

Your quote expresses the lack of, not the belief that something is not. The quote is arguing for 0 , whereas atheism is arguing for -. Nit collecting stamps and bald are not negatives, whereas atheism is.

Vote pro
Sources- none that I know of, I'm sure if i missed something my opponent will lnform us.
kbreezy

Con

My opponent begins by saying that he has raised points I have not addressed. I would like to remind both him and the observers that he has set a limit on the number of characters within a given post, so he is at fault for the things he criticizes me for. Logicians such as Aquinas are famous for noting that logically, proving a negative is infinitely more difficult than a positive, so I will try to prove his points groundless in the very limited frame of characters and opportunity he has allotted me.

•On politics: "Some Atheists, for their own political reasons, assert that Atheism is not a religion but instead is the total absence of religion. This allows them to spread their Atheistic beliefs freely in societies which insist on ‘separation of church and state.'"

My opponent states here that atheists have an agenda of some sort in the political realm, and that atheists assert that atheism is not a religion in order to get the upper hand politically. This is a question of motive and not of fact, so this point is completely and utterly irrelevant to this debate, but I will address it regardless because I did not like the smugness with which he asserted that I conceded this.

Atheists do, indeed, have a political agenda. That agenda is critical thinking, truth, and skepticism. So if you acknowledge that these points have no place in a given state, I suggest you move to Iran or North Korea and preach conventional obedience there, where it will be rewarded and appreciated by the ruling powers. Again, there are no "atheistic beliefs". There is only one ‘belief' that is required of atheists, the recognition of its members that a God(s) does not exist. If you'd like to attempt to establish a theocracy that disregards the constitutionality of the SOCAS and ignores the freedoms of the minority of it's citizenry, I implore you to fail trying.

•7 Dimensions: as far as I can tell, you have put forth absolutely no evidence in favor of atheism fulfilling all 7 of these characteristics. Had you not been afraid to fully debate this topic, and had you not limited the word count, I could completely discredit all 7 of them. But I cannot because you have imposed the character count on me.
oNarrative (where everything came from) – You say that atheists claim that evolution is "where everything came from", everything I'm assuming to be organic organisms. This is false. Atheists only claim that evolution was the mechanism by which organic entities were able to come to be, a framework if you will. Atheists do not claim that evolution is the starting point of life because evolution is a principle and not a physical entity. This means evolution is the HOW, and not the WHERE. This point is therefore completely wrong/ void.

Also, please stop calling these ‘my [your]' point(s). You copied and pasted them word for word from the aforementioned websites. They are not your points, no more than a purse stolen by a robber is ‘his purse'.

•Faith: my opponent goes on to say he could apply the same principles of evidence to belief in a God. I do not have faith that the universe came to be somehow because I can see that it is in being presently. Our point of contention is that you say, and therefore need to prove, a God brought it into being, and I say that one did not. I am not arguing against the existence of the universe, I am arguing the point that a) I do not know how it came to be, but b) that a God is most certainly not how it came to be. I do not need faith to say a God didn't do it or that I don't know. These are based on the premise of justified belief. Refer to last post.

•On my ‘non-sequitur': The point my opponent attempts to make is both logically and verbally incoherent. A non-sequitur is a point that does not logically follow a premise. He is using verbose terminology in an attempt to confuse the reader. He says: "the con tray to such a thing [the sun] is made obvious…" Yes, the contrary to the lack of a sun is obvious… No sun. How does this disprove my point on rationally justified belief? Also, how does this not logically follow from the idea that without a sun, our solar system would not exist? "…the contrary to something as abstract as faith is not." Umm… The contrary to faith is no faith. The contrary to envy is satisfaction. These are abstract principles that have opposites. Still unaware of your point.

He goes on to say that because evidence points to the lack of the existence of a cosmic being, I am relying on faith to assert that one does not exist. I have adequately addressed this position in my last post in "justified belief". I am justified in claiming there isn't a God in the same why I am justified in claiming there isn't a unicorn in Alpha Centauri. This conversation is still irrelevant to the matter at hand. I refer you to it.

If you are insulted by my example, I suggest you do not bring your beliefs into the open criticism of such a website as this. You have made a conscious decision to debate this topic and will meet the full force of my humorous capacity. You don't like it? I'm sorry, leave. I will not rescind the statement.

My opponent proceeds to back pedal in his claim to his definition of a religion. Since he is being rather shady regarding the language he's used, I will narrow the definition to the following prerequisites: "Religion-a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency."

Every major religion fulfills all 4 of these. Atheism makes no claim to the cause, nature, or purpose of the universe, whereas Islam, Judaism, and Christianity do. It only addresses "superhuman agency(ies)". Atheism is therefore not a religion.

Yes, my quote does express the lack of. Justified belief, when concerned with proving negatives, is grounds enough for claims to the contrary. I am also unsure as to how "atheism is arguing for -,…" Please elaborate.

He says: "not collecting stamps and bald are not negatives, whereas atheism is." A negative is: "characterized by the absence of distinguishing or marked qualities or features; lacking positive attributes." (dictionary.com) Baldness addresses the absence, or negative, of hair. Not collecting stamps does the same with the collecting of stamps. Atheism does the same with God. The point stands.
Debate Round No. 2
Ds201049

Pro

I counted your words, and you were not on the character limit, so that you are essentially lying to justify your own laziness. Also, I know your ignorant of this site considering your knew to it, but you can challenge my limit on time and words, just so you know before you make such a claim. Remember, ignorance is the epitome of stupidity. Also, you are judged on your conduct, so I understand your an atheist, but just because this is a debate, does not mean you can criticize my God, without consequence that is.

The supreme court ruled atheism a religion, so that atheists would have the same respect as other religions do. It is a lot easier to get places and do your practices when you are not a religion, so I understand why you make such a claim.

I lack time, so I will give my final words here

First off, thank you for debating me Mr. Schoof, I look forward to our later debates on topics such as god's existence, conservatives are better, Hitler was an atheist, and anarchy is the epitome of corruption.

My final "Ode to Mr. Schoof"

Creed
No God, anti-God, Pro-homosexuality, anti-Christianity.
Atheism is a belief. I know that many atheists will disagree with this, but the atheists gathered around a common belief of no God, or lack of God, and the need to increase what they perceive as separation of church and state in America.
Crisis
Created a problem and offered a solution. The problem was religious oppression in society with atheistic ideals as the solution.
Assemblies
Gathered in groups with meeting times. Atheists don't meet nearly as frequently as Christians do in their churches, but they do have state meetings, national meetings, and regular gatherings.
Pulpit
The lectern from which speeches were made, their ideas were promoted, and their reasons for their belief system were validated.
Evangelistic
The atheists sought converts to their cause. They frequently spoke about getting the idea of atheism out into society, and to move people away from theism.
Celebration over converts
Rejoiced when converts to their belief system were announced. There was applause and excitement when there were announcements about people who had "come out of the closet" and announced their atheism.
Zealous for their cause
They wanted their cause and belief system expanded to the extent of changing America to reflect their thinking.
Exclusive
Only they have the truth. The atheists repeatedly spoke of how atheism was the truth, and that theists and deists were ignorant of facts and reason.
Us against them mentality
There was a profound description of the division between atheism and theism, with the atheists being the ones who were defending themselves against the intrusive theists.
Concerned about public image
This is normal. They were very concerned with how they were perceived and wanted to change their negative reputation.
Lack of critical thinking
This is common everywhere. Though they thought they were rational, by far most of the arguments and comments weren't.
Misrepresentation of opposing views
Again, another common trait among people who gather in groups, have a common ideology, and see others as being less enlightened.
Voting block
The atheists mentioned voting as a group in order to progress their cause in society.
Infighting
This is normal for groups. We don't all see eye to eye. But, they all held to atheism even though they had disagreements about some particulars.
Money
They didn't have tithing, but there were plenty of things for sale. And, let's not forget to mention how they sought donations to help cover the costs of promoting atheism, paying speakers, renting facilities, etc.

carm.org
kbreezy

Con

My opponent calls me a liar. Let me reiterate for the readers that my opponent is the one who copied and pasted over half of his beginning argument from obscure 3rd party websites. And he says that I lack integrity? Don't be absurd.

Ignorance is the epitome of stupidity. While this is a very insightful aphorism, it in no way, shape, or form furthers your argument. Also, as I said earlier, if you do not wish others to compare your God to other nonexistent entities, please do not post further on debate.org on questions of God and then play the "hurt feelings" card.

Even if the Supreme Court did label atheism a religion, it means nothing. The truth of a thing is not grounded in mass appeal or consensus (law). It was considered lawful, by the Supreme Court, for human beings to own other human beings, and for slave masters to kill slaves if they felt it was necessary. This was, by the way, justified using Biblical scripture. I implore you to consider the following:

A Sociologist by the name of Lawrence Kohlberg shed a great deal of light on the stages of moral development in human beings. I will address the latter 2 stages of his theory.

•Level 2 (Conventional Stage) – The stage at which humans conform to societal norms, authorities, and the social-order with respect to the question of right and wrong.
•Level 3 (Post Conventional Stage) – The stage at which humans recognize abstract, universal ethical principles. (i.e. killing is wrong even if it is my father killing someone)

Kohlberg's theories prove that it is unwise to use authority as an absolute standard of truth, because just like us, they are errant humans, and can (gasp) be incorrect. Truth exists independently of the Supreme Court and of any authority.

I already addressed your perception of atheism as a group with an objective, you say; "It is a lot easier to get places and do your practices (?) when you are not a religion…" On top of this being written awkwardly, I addressed your ideas on the atheist political objective in my last post. You didn't address a single one of my points stemming from the last round in which I covered this.

I will now address your ideas on… Whatever your last argument was, though it is still very unclear.

•Creed – "No God, anti-God, Pro-homosexuality, anti-Chrisian." The first 2 are just different ways of saying the same thing. Yes, strong atheists believe there is no God. We've established this. There is also no central atheist dogma, so no, atheists are not "pro homosexuality", though I personally am opposed to the persecution of a group on the grounds of any inherent difference. Atheists are not necessarily anti-Christian either. We just do not believe in God. That's all. It would be like me saying all Christians are Nazis. No, only some Catholic bishops supported Fascism in Europe. It would be inane for me to say that because some members of a group did something, all members of a group agree with the action. Also, there is no ‘percieve(d)' separation of church and state. It was a principle spelled out by our founding fathers. It is a matter of fact and not perception.
•Crisis- Insofar as I am aware, atheists had nothing to do with the corruption pandemic in every form of religion from the dawn of time. There are no ‘atheistic ideals'. There is only 1 idea: God doesn't exist. We didn't create corruption in your religions, you did. This should raise some questions in the minds of any who believe their religion was divinely inspired.
•Assemblies- Every organization has meetings. The United Nations has scheduled meetings. Is the United Nations a religion?
•Pulpit- Yes, when people speak publicly they often do so on a stage, stool, etc. This is truly a point in your favor and is completely relevant to this discussion.
•Evangelistic- Atheists would not be evangelical if religions did not threaten our continued survival as a species. You blow up abortion clinics, kill one another, and halt the spread of science in the name of religion. Now people who think that if they blow themselves up, they'll get 70 virgins in paradise are attaining nuclear power. We'll stop being evangelical when you stop threatening the human race.
•Celebration over converts- Yes, we like it when people are aware of the truth. Just like your father was proud when you took your first steps.
•Zealots for their cause- this is a hilarious one. ‘Zealots'. Need I even touch on what religious zealots have done to the developing world? Out of respect for the knowledge of my readers, I am not going to insult them by answering such a ridiculous claim.

Sorry, my opponent limited me to 5,000 characters again because he knows I won. I apologize to all of you who hoped I would have addressed his entire argument. I also apologize if I've offended anyone, I sometimes get lost in the heat of arguing a point. Vote Con! Thanks guys.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Ds201049 6 years ago
Ds201049
I'm waitin Gavin....... Why don't u man up and debate me then
Posted by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
Pro has no place in a debate.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Pro broke many debate rules: copying without acknowledgment, gratuitous insults, lack of capitalized letters. con showed convincingly that atheism does not meet the criteria of religion that Pro proposed. The most important element of religion, I think, is making a leap of faith to accept supernatural causes. Atheists don't do that.

"If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby."
Posted by Ds201049 6 years ago
Ds201049
ig your undecided on who to vote for, then use pascals wager to figure it out
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by gavin.ogden 6 years ago
gavin.ogden
Ds201049kbreezyTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro copied arguments without acknowledgment (he could type in the links or just acknowledge in general), did not capitalize, made meaningless insults, and did not provide arguments that atheism met a reasonable dfinition of religion.
Vote Placed by losedotexe 6 years ago
losedotexe
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Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
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Vote Placed by Atheism 6 years ago
Atheism
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Vote Placed by kbreezy 6 years ago
kbreezy
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